In the 2014-2015 NBA Season Kyle Korver...
Shot 49% from 3-point, 49% from the field, and 89% from the free throw line.
Attention to Detail
Korver's commitment to excellence is expressed through his attention to detail. He meticulously combs through every aspect of his shot to make sure that he is shooting the same exact shot each and every time. In an interview with Andrew Kulp he outlines how his pursuit of perfection has lead him to construct a 20-point shooting that he has in the back of him mind at all times. Korver had this to say:
As I’m shooting, I have this list in the back of my head, and I know I’m not doing one or two of them. Once I feel I get all 20 of them clicking, then I’m going to have a natural rhythm in my shot.”
Kyle’s checklist covers every part of his shooting mechanics from his foundation, release, posture, feet, fingers, and feeling when he releases the ball. His attention to detail is exhausting. Check out Korver’s list below.
Korver's Shooting Checklist
1. Wide stance.
2. Exaggerated legs.
3. Drop through heels.
4. Engage core.
5. Slight bend at waist.
6. Up strong.
7. Elbow straight.
8. One hand.
9. Fingers spread.
10. Slight pause.
11. Elbow up.
12. Land forward.
13. See the top of the rim.
14. Ball on fingertips.
15. Strong shot.
16. Shoulders forward and relaxed.
17. Ball and arm risen straight.
18. Hold the follow through.
19. Keep the release point high.
20. On turns, square shoulders.
To be clear, just because you pay attention to detail in order to improve yourself as a basketball player does not guarantee success. There is no guarantee that assures success in life or the game the basketball. There are hundreds of factors outside your control that can interfere with your athletic success. Injuries, coaching decisions, school politics, other players, are a few examples of the factors outside of your control.
BUT the key is to concentrate on the aspects of your game you are able to control. Shooting is one of the skills in basketball that you have an immense amount of control over. Korver’s shooting checklist is a prime example of this.
Instead of focusing on the things outside of his control, he makes sure to concentrate on those things he can control, including; his effort, attitude, routine, technique, repetition, and habits.
Gain an Edge
You are faced with choices every day. You can choose to get in extra shooting sessions, you can choose to break down film of your shot, you can choose to work on your technique while teammates are practicing trick shots, you can choose to stay in the gym until you’ve made 10 consecutive jumpers. Hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but it does increase your chance to be successful. Not everyone who works hard is successful, but no there are no successful people who haven’t worked hard.
More importantly, one of the greatest sign of a commitment to excellence is the desire to find an edge over your competition. About two years ago, Korver was trying to find something that would rejuvenate his career and extend his days in the NBA. This search for an edge led him to discover the idea of misogi.
Misogi is the ancient Japanese idea of pushing your body beyond its perceived physical limits to the point of failure in order to expand your sense of what is possible.
Here’s what Korver's trainer had to say about his enthusiasm to push himself in unthinkable ways:
“He has a search for truth, fearlessness, honor. He’s warrior-like and has an adventurous spirit. But especially because he’s always trying to be better.”
Korver’s first Misogi was a 25 mile stand-up paddleboard trip across the open ocean. Korver had never set foot on a paddleboard before. 9 hours later the group reached their destination bleeding, sunburnt, and narrowly escaping the shark infested waters (click here to read about the entire adventure).
Korver had found his edge:
And he wasn't about to let it go.
Hooked on the idea, Korver and his crew set out one morning during the Summer of 2014. They left for a California beach at 5am to complete their second misogi. They decided to do an underwater 5k while carrying huge rocks across the ocean floor. After nearly five hours of descending to the depths of the ocean and lugging a 85lb rock along the ocean floor (for stints that lasted as long as their lungs and legs would permit) the group had finished their second Misogi.
Korver’s quest to give himself an edge took him to a place where many athletes are unwilling to go. A place of pain and discomfort, a place that begs for you to give in and take the easy path home. But a commitment to excellence is not the result of success, it sets the parameters of it.
A commitment to excellence infiltrates every nook and cranny of your life and won’t leave you alone. It precipitates your thoughts and actions and refuses to let you take shortcuts. It holds you to a higher standard, a modus operandi that may seems strange to outsiders. It questions your limitations and refuses to let you settle for ‘just good enough’.
Find your "Grind Activator"
As of the 2014-15 NBA season Korver had been in the league for 11 seasons and he knew that he needed to find a mental edge to help him get through the grind of the NBA season.
He was looking for his "Grind Activator":
Korver found that going through that kind of sustained pain and discomfort (that he experienced during the misogis) eventually forces you to adopt an etherial sort of concentration and focus - otherworldly and divine. Korver has used these experiences to fuel him during the grueling demands of an NBA season.
This commitment is what sets Kyle apart from other players in the NBA. He was taken late in the second round of the NBA draft and wasn’t expected to make much of a splash in the NBA. Korver admits that his physical gifts are somewhat limited compared to many of the other guys in the league.
“I’ve never been the fastest guy,” and “I’ve never been the tallest guy. But I know how to keep going, to grind. It’s probably not one of the sexier gifts you can get, but it works.”
Every player needs a "grind activator"...
That one thing that you can come back to time and time again that will reset your focus on the task at hand instead of focusing on circumstances. When you are in the game and your body is hurting, you feel out of rhythm, and the refs aren't giving you an calls, how are you going to react?
I believe that the most powerful confidence comes when you can return to the times when you pushed yourself beyond your limits and were able to endure. Korver used the idea of misogi to accomplish that for him, but your "grind activator" can be anything that inspires you to stay focused despite how you are feeling.
Find your grind activator and return to it during those times when you feel the "grind" starting to get to you.
Here's a shooting drill that guys like Kyle Korver use to get better.
This shooting drill is called: +Plus/-Minus Shooting
(For more great drills like this one click here.)
Goal: Put pressure on yourself to make shots when you are fatigued
- Plus minus shooting assigns a point value for each shot that you make or miss. The traditional way to run these drills is you get +1 for a make and -1 for a miss. You continue shooting until you reach a cumulative score of +8 or -8 at each spot (you can adjust this number depending on how hard you want to make the drill).
- If you want to increase the difficulty, you can penalize yourself -2 or -3 for a miss. Or, you can make it so the spot ends when you reach a high positive number (ex. +15) and a low negative number (ex. -4)
- This type of shooting can be used to practice any shot on the court and is a great way to ensure high levels of concentration and intensity during shooting.
If you want to learn exactly how guys like Kyle Korver have become legendary shooters, I've put together an E-Book that took me over a year to write.
It is the culmination of what I've learned as a shooter over the last 3 years as a pro.
I wouldn't be selling this book if I didn't 100% believe in what I've written. It has taken me nearly a full year to compile this material, because I wanted to share the exact mindset and techniques that have helped me raise my shooting percentage by 5% over the last several years.
I've been BLESSED to have been...
- A 4 year Starter at a Division 1 College Program
- Won a Division 1 State Championship in High School
- Be the leading scorer (30ppg) and 3 point shooter (45%) for two straight years playing professionally in Australia
- To have a career 40% three point shooter in College
- To have played for great coaches and just finished my 3rd year as a pro
- To have spent hundreds of hours training and coaching other players
The reason I started Arete Hoops was so I could help coaches and players grow in their leadership, influence, character, and discipline.
And this E-Book is by far the best material I've ever come across on how to improve both the mental side of shooting while giving you practical steps to make improvement. I hope it serves you.
I just wanted to say thanks.
I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for people who are seriously serious about becoming better players, coaches, leaders, and people.
You're the reason we exist.